Entries by Christopher Altman

Here I am contemplating the big job before me. The client wanted this Dodonea in Pacific Heights to be hedged by hand, not with sheers. This would give it a softer edge. She also wanted her hedge to have steps that would coincide with the steps in the garden. Check out the result. Kent, my […]

Dead Plumb

It was an easy removal. All we had to do was push it over. You can see the girdled, circling roots that eventually caused the tree to die. You can also see the GIANT adventitious root that had grown out of the trunk. This tree died because it wasn’t planted properly. It had been planted […]

Here is a lovely example of crown reduction and natural flow pruning. I worked on this Pittosporum undulatum in the Richmond District on 19th Ave and Balboa. It really looks almost like I never pruned it at all. From the inside of the canopy it made quite a difference.

Tree planting tips

Yesterday I was called in to look at some sickly plants. The first tree, really a shrub, had failed at the base of the trunk. It looked like it had rotted out. Upon closer inspection I found an old irrigation head that had been engulfed by the trunk. I’ve seen this happen before. Landscape companies […]

Tree of the Week

Thuja occidentalis. Some common names are Arborvitae, Eastern Arborvitae, Northern White Cedar. The above picture is a Thuja I pruned over on Laguna Honda. They come in many shades of green, yellow, or blue green with differing shapes and sizes. Sometimes the leaves can hang horizontal, vertical, or in waves. They are quite popular in […]

Silk Oak and High Voltage

NW corner of Douglass and 24th Street.Client: Noe Valley Association.Climbers: me, Marcello, and Sean.Ground Crew: Kent, Mikey, and Serge.Common name: Silk-oak (not a true oak).Botanical name: Gravillea robusta.Family: proteaceae (yes, the same family as those plants with the crazy, alien like flowers). Above: a picture of the leaf and flower Below: a picture of three […]

tree killers

I got a call from a contractor who was in a panic. His backhoe had damaged the trunk and root system of this poor Monterey Pine. A concerned neighbor had alerted the department of urban forestry. They in turn did an inspection of the work site and determined that the tree was a hazard and […]

The Lorax

A few years ago my good friend Frank Eddy planted a Eucalyptus nicholii in front of his house in the Mission. His plan: to make it look like on of the trees from Dr Seuss’s The Lorax. Kinda like a poodle. Kinda surreal. So we’re doing a little experiment with tree shaping. Fun. Today, step […]

Big Buckeye in Back

Georgia called me to say, in her charming New York accent, that her tree needed some care. She lives with her family on the top of Duncan Street, above Noe Valley. The street is pretty bare except for a few, young trees planted in the last few years by the Friends of the Urban Forest […]

Olive Tree in the Marina District

Today’s goal: natural flow pruning and shaping. The client wanted to have a more refined looking tree, not so wild as olives like to grow. So we managed to give it shape while still keeping some of the natural, wild olive feel. We spent a lot of time cleaning up stubs left over by the […]